China SM prices stable at low levels amid weak demand

08 November 2011 11:59  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Domestic styrene monomer (SM) prices in China remain low amid persistently weak demand from end-users, producers and traders said on Tuesday.

SM prices in east china were at yuan (CNY) 10,000-10,050/tonne ($1,575-1,583/tonne) ex-tank Zhangjiagang on Tuesday, according to data from Chemease, an ICIS service in China. Prices edged higher on the back of an overnight rise in crude oil, a trader said.

In October, Prices in east China hovered at around CNY10,000/tonne ex-tank Zhangjiagang, down from CNY10,700-10,750/tonne in September.

A trader in east China said prices have stabilised at low levels mainly because of weak downstream demand.

Most downstream producers are keeping their plant run rates low, with domestic expandable polystyrene (EPS) units operating at around 50-60% of capacity.

Demand from the construction sector is weak as work has been halted at most building projects because of cold weather in northern China, an EPS producer said.

EPS is used to make styro-foam for food and electronic packaging, as well as insulation panels in buildings and roads.

The outlook for the SM market remains weak in China, given that November and December are the traditional off-peak seasons for downstream demand. Most players are therefore, cautious about the outlook for the year-end.

SM is used to make plastic resins such as EPS, polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) as well as synthetic rubbers such as styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) and styrene butadiene latex (SB).

($1 = CNY6.35)

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By: Cindy Wu

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